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Healthy body, Healthy mind by Nicki

Admitting and accepting I wasn’t ok – the hardest but most rewarding step I have ever taken.

For so long I clung to any other reason to avoid the stigma and perceived embarrassment of mental (ill) health but I was only destroying myself, the people closest to me and the life I had slowly crumbling around me.

5-6 years of life stresses had built up and up – with limited recovery time between, I was getting more and more overwhelmed and consumed with a negative mindset, low self confidence and withdrawing from the world around me.

Added to this, I was using my sport against me. Having competed and medalled at representational level I felt so much pressure to perform and albeit this was all in my own head, no one else’s, it was breaking me and my love for swim, bike and run.

Thankfully I have the most amazing GP who has supported me through this and helped find the “real Nicki” again.

Yes, I am on medication and actually I am ok with that – it was my choice. I was going into it with a change in mindset – a good friend told me it’s the only way you can be with it. “Believe in them, let them help you and don’t ever think you are falsely feeling better, you’re not, you’re just helping yourself” – I never would have made the step without that reassurance. Be it 6 months, a year, 2 years, right now, I need the extra help and life is definitely easier and better

I am now using my sport as a positive focus and smile every time I lace up my trainers, clip into two wheels and or dive into a lake – I still have some ambitious sporting challenges but I am doing them for me with a “healthy body, healthy mind” mantra and to raise awareness of how important exercise is to encourage mental wellbeing.

What advice I would give to others:

· Talk – my family and close friends have been amazing, I wouldn’t be where I am without them

· It really is ok to not be ok – acceptance is hard but it gets easier with every step you take in seeking help

· Be kind to yourself - there is only one you so take time out to look after yourself

Here’s to happy RUNR miles and leaving nothing but footprints